Charli Mill’s prompt this week is to write a 99 word story about diversity. This is a word that crops up a lot at the moment. Literary agents and publishers are crying out for more characters issued from ‘diversity’. As I understand it this means characters who are handicapped in some way (I don’t expect I was meant to use that word), by which I mean, they have a hard time in our first world societies. Really, I think this means being black or gay, though some physical disabilities are allowed.
In many ways, unless a writer has first hand experience of being on the margins of society, it strikes me as a rather artificial exercise. And in any case (this is where I get my soap box out) the most prevalent form of discrimination, affecting the most phenomenal numbers of victims (about 3.5 billion) in almost every single society, is gender discrimination. By that I mean honest to goodness discrimination against women. So easy to overlook, isn’t it? I mean, 3.5 billion isn’t that many if you say it quickly.
For my contribution, I have invited Esma back, a character from Lipstick, a short story from January.
Without a word, his face furious, Salah went to wash and change before eating.
Farida hissed, “Esma! Lay the table. Quickly. Your father’s hungry.”
Esma left the boys watching TV.
“Treating us like second class citizens, forcing us to demonstrate,” Salah muttered as he took his place at table. “Aren’t all men equal, or what?”
Farida served the food in silence. At the end of the meal, Salah sat on the sofa with the boys. Farida beckoned to Esma to clear away.
“But, why is it always me?”
Her father stared at her in astonishment. “Because you’re a girl!”